I am not afraid.
It is March 22 in the afternoon.
Still saddened and confused by the events that took place this morning I sit at my desk in Brussels which has become a surrealistic city. Until noon the city was filled with the sound of sirens from ambulances, fire engines and police. Now it has sunken into stunning silence, interrupted only by a few helicopters crossing the skies of the Belgian capital. I see them from my window and my thoughts are with all the victims at the airport and in the subway station, and with their relatives.
The central office of the United Protestant Church in Belgium is located at the fringe of the district of Anderlecht, not really a prestigious neighborhood! We are not situated in a safe little place surrounded by well-tended greenspace. We are here in the middle of the city. When I go for a walk between meetings, people on the street recognize me and know what I do. They always greet me and sometimes there are Moslems who spontaneously give me a hug.
What a wonderful country and city with so many different faces! Religious leaders often come together and the meetings have become more frequent, especially since the attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris. It is not enough to make public statements together; we must also show our solidarity at the heart of society as human beings united in diversity.
Today, I am not afraid, except by simplistic views that may crop up with the horrible events of this morning. It is true that some will succumb to generalizations, which sow the seeds of distrust.
I will continue to congratulate, encourage and thank all those, who show in this diverse society that it is possible to believe, as did the Man from Nazareth, in a world where individuals are never reduced to the state of adversaries.
I hope that Brussels and all of Belgium will react with dignity. We have all been wounded but we must go on advocating mutual understanding and showing wonderful examples of living together.
A few weeks from now several communities—and the United Protestant Church in Belgium will be one of them—will organize a street football tournament in the heart of Molenbeek district. 40 small teams of 4 players, mixed teams of course: Moslems, Protestants, Catholics, etc. as one sign among others in the midst of our society of living together. Only by working together will we achieve this goal.
Rev. Steven H. Fuite
President of the Synod Council
of the United Protestant Church in Belgium